Durand Cup 2023: All you need to know – Dates, Venues, Teams, and Format
The stage for the 2023 Durand Cup is set, as 24 teams across the Indian subcontinent will battle for the prestigious crown in a month-long tournament. The tournament is hosted by the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS) and the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Nevertheless, it attains a decorated history and it has played a major role in shaping Indian football. In modern-day football, the tournament acts as the season opener. Interestingly, guest invitees such as Indian or abroad armed forces can also participate in the Durand Cup along with national football clubs.
Moreover, it’s also the oldest football tournament in Asia and the fifth oldest in the world. The first edition of the Cup took place in 1888 in Shimla and it was won by the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Since then, it has been taking place annually, except the years, when it was suspended due to World Wars and partition. Thus, the 2023 Durand Cup will be the 132nd edition of the tournament and it will be taking place in Kolkata, Guwahati, and Kokrajhar.
In the pre-independence era (before 1950), the tournament was dominated by British clubs such as Black Watch and Highland Light Infantry. However, in the post-independence era, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have been the most successful clubs in the tournament as they both secured the title 16 times each.
Last season, a total of 20 clubs participated in the tournament. Consequently, the 2022 edition of the tournament was won by Sunil Chettri-led Bengaluru after they took down Mumbai City in the final to grasp their maiden Durand Cup crown. Moreover, Lallianzuala Chhangte was the top scorer of the tournament with seven goals last season.
The 132nd edition of the Durand Cup will take place from 3 August to 3 September. Hence, the first match of the tournament will take place between Mohun Bagan and Bangladesh Army at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium, Kolkata. On the other hand, the group stage matches will end on August 22, with a stellar match between Bengaluru and Gokulam Kerala at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan stadium.
Thus, the knockout matches of the tournament will commence on August 24. The quarter-final matches will be played from 24 to 27 August and the semi-final fixtures will be played on 29th and 31st August respectively. The winner of the 2023 Durand Cup will be crowned on September 3. The tournament will feature a total of 43 matches in total.
For just the second time in the tournament’s history, Durand Cup will be taking place in more than one state as the club competition will be played in Kolkata, Guwahati, and Kokrajhar. Hence, the matches of the 2023 Durand Cup will take place in six different stadiums, that are Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kishore Bharati Krirangan, Mohun Bagan Ground, East Bengal Ground, Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, and SAI Stadium.
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, which is also known as the Salt Lake Stadium is one of the biggest football stadiums in India, which has a total capacity of 85,000 spectators. On the other hand, Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium is the second biggest stadium of the tournament with a capacity of a total of 30,000 spectators and it was also the host venue for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The last edition of the tournament had 20 teams and in 2023, a total of 24 will battle for the Durand Cup crown. All 12 clubs in the top tier of Indian football, which is the Indian Super League will be participating in the tournament, including the newly inducted Punjab. Moreover, it’s only the second time that all the ISL clubs are playing in the Durand Cup.
In addition to that, clubs from I-League, I-League 2, and specially invited teams, which represent armed forces will also take part in the tournament. I-League sides such as Mohammedan, Gokulam Kerala, Shillong Lajong, Delhi, Rajasthan United, and Downtown Heroes while Indian armed forces sides such as Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Bodoland, and Indian Army will also be taking part in the tournament.
In addition to that, Tribhuwan Army (Nepal) and Bangladesh Army are also among the playing teams in the 132nd Durand Cup.
The format of the Durand Cup has been different over the years because of the total number of teams playing in the tournament. Last season, there were four groups of five teams present in the group stage of the tournament. However, with the addition of new units, in 2023, the group stage of the competition will feature a total of six different groups consisting of four teams each.
All the teams will play against each other once and the first-placed team from all six groups will directly qualify to the quarterfinals. Moreover, the two best-ranked second-placed teams, according to another table, will also qualify for the quarterfinals. Moreover, the winners of the four matches will advance to the semi-final stage.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E||Group F|
|Bangladesh Army||Indian Navy||Bengaluru||Downtown Heroes||Chennaiyin||Bodoland|
|East Bengal||Jamshedpur||Indian Air Force||Goa||Delhi||Indian Army|
|Mohun Bagan Super Giants||Mohammedan||Gokulam Kerala||NorthEast United||Hyderabad||Odisha|
|Punjab||Mumbai City||Kerala Blasters||Shillong Lajong||Tribhuwan Army||Rajasthan United|
The winner of quarter-final 1 will play against the winner of quarter-final 2 in the first match of the last four, while the winner of quarter-final 3 will lock horns against the winner of quarter-final 4 in the second semi-final. Consequently, the winners of the respective semi-final fixtures will square off in the final for ultimate glory.